West Ham United are said to be chasing the capture of Genoa’s Christian Kouame and with the futures of so many attackers at the London Stadium said to be under threat, his potential arrival is only going to plunge their place at the club into more doubt.
Italian publication Calcio Mercato claim the Hammers join Napoli in tracking the 21-year-old Ivorian under-23 star, but they will have some catching up to do with the Serie A side said to already be in talks with their league rivals. However, with a £21.6million asking price said to be on his head, he is a big money signing for someone so young.
Is he special?
A mainstay for Genoa this season, making 31 appearances in Italy’s top flight, the young talent clearly has a bright future ahead of him. Four goals and six assists might not scream prolific hitman but his versatility to play on not just one but both of the wings as well as a centre forward means he would be a useful option to Manuel Pellegrini were he to be signed. Fleet footed and with a desire to take his man on, he is not like any of the current strikers at West Ham but if he was to be compared to one it would likely be Javier Hernandez, who uses his positional awareness and speed to be a real fox in the box. The fact he is playing first team football in one of Europe’s biggest leagues means he is already getting some crucial experience at a young age and seems destined to do much more in his fledgling career. However, he is definitely a raw talent and someone who needs nurturing to hit future heights
Where will he fit into the team?
As stated, there is plenty of uncertainty up top for Pellegrini, with speculation surrounding Marko Arnautovic, Andy Carroll, Lucas Perez and Javier Hernandez. It seems as though there is definitely going to be a change of the guard in attack and if Kouame is to join, it must spell the end of the Mexican veteran. His big wages are costing the club with little return and while the Genoa youngster might not be the same sort of player, he arguably brings more to the table for much, much less. He is not going to bring the power of Arnautovic or Carroll, which is why there must be more than one new signing if they are to depart
Despite being born in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, Kouame has spent his entire professional career in Italy, starting his career off at fourth tier side Prato.